1866 to 1902, Canadian Militia badges
were virtually identical in design,
consisting of the Queen's (Queen
Victoria's) crown on top and the
battalion numeral in the centre. The
badge of our unit, the 34th Battalion,
bore the Roman numerals XXXIV and
was similar in style to many other
Canadian Militia units of the time.
1902, regimental commanding officers
were given the opportunity to design
their own badges. At that time, the
Commanding Officer of the 34th was
Lieutenant Colonel McGillivray. Hailing
from Sunderland, Ontario, Colonel
McGillivray chose parts of the design
from his family crest, consisting of a
"cat-a-mountain" or a
highland wild cat, but changed to a black house
cat sitting on a cushion and the motto "Fidelis et Paratus" (Faithful and
Prepared This badge was authorized in
World War I, standard maple leaf badges
bore numerals denoting each battalion's
designation. These were worn throughout
most of the Canadian Militia and the
Canadian Expeditionary Force. (The
exception being some Canadian cavalry and
infantry regiments including, for
example, the Royal Canadian
Dragoons, Royal Canadian Regiment and
some highland regiments.) During this period, the Ontarios' badge
included the numerals 116 (for
the first or overseas battalion) and
182 (for the second or
Canadian-based reserve battalion which
provided hundreds of reinforcements to
battalions in Europe).
World War I, the badge went through
several changes. It was felt that a cat
in a fighting stance was more
appropriate for a regiment which had
seen so much action in Europe. The
docile seated cat was replaced with a
cat in fighting stance, back arched,
tail bristling: Statant, Gardant, Irate.
introduced regulations which forbade the use of
numerals on cap badges, posed an
identification problem for the Regiment.
This challenge was solved by placing a
circle at the base of the scroll and
dividing it into four quadrants, one of
which has been cleared, giving the idea
of 'three from four' or 34.
A further change occurred owing to the
during WW I. As men from each of
Canada's nine provinces (pre-1949) had
served with the unit on active duty
from 1914 to 1918, a wreath of nine
maple leaves was placed on the badge
with the regimental motto Fidelis et
Paratus banded around the cat.
worn from the 1920s-early 1950s was
adorned with the Imperial or Tudor
Crown, also known as "King's Crown".
1953, the Regiment's cap badge badge was
modified after HM Queen Elizabeth II's
accession to the Throne.
updated badge was adorned with the Crown
of St. Edward, more commonly known as
the "Queen's Crown".
To this day, every member of the
Regiment -- irrespective of rank --
wears the same brass or anodized metal cap
Despite attempts to introduce a
wire/cloth officers cap badge in both
the 1960s and 1980s, the unit's
traditional metal badge bearing the
distinctive cat has survived unaltered.
Present day (post-2010)
The cap badge was updated slightly to
colourize the 'autumnal' leaves. The
face of the Black Cat was altered to
appear somewhat more sinister and
'cat-like'. The Cat's body itself was,
to some extent, trimmed and toned.
This version was
authorized on 11 Jun 2010.
Click to view larger version (3MB)
The present-day badge of The Ontario
(Image courtesy of the
Directorate of History and Heritage,
Department of National Defence)